accessibility & help

Northampton family thank Red Cross with generous donation to county wheelchair appeal

For immediate release 9 February 2012
For further information Catherine Bates
Contact number 0115 850 5954 / 07834527105

The family of 10 year old Chloe Pickering from Northampton are handing over a cheque for £1600 to the British Red Cross to buy eight new wheelchairs for the county on Thursday 16 February at Red Cross House, Hatton Close, Moulton Park, Northampton (NN3 6SU).

They are making the donation to the charity’s Big Wheel Appeal after Chloe borrowed a wheelchair from the Red Cross’s dial-a wheelchair service in spring 2010 after a severe autoimmune reaction left her temporarily unable to walk.

The reaction, Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP), caused swelling and arthritis to attack her joints, making walking and moving around very painful and awkward.

Chloe’s parents, Tony and Katrina Pickering, contacted the Red Cross’s dial-a-wheelchair service in Northampton, who were able to loan the family a wheelchair until Chloe recovered.

Tony (49), who also has an 11 year old son, Luke, said: “The Red Cross were just fantastic! When Chloe found walking particularly painful, the wheelchair meant she didn’t miss out on school, family activities, seeing her friends or going on the annual Brownie trip.”

Nearly two years on, Chloe has made a fully recovery and even won county medals for her gymnastic skills. To say thank you, Chloe’s dad Tony has secured £1600 in donations from the Mason’s Kingsley Lodge in Northampton of which he is a member, Brixworth Masonic Dining Club and the Masonic Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire for the Red Cross’s Big Wheel Appeal.

Launched in February last year, the Big Wheel Appeal aims to raise £16,000 to buy 80 new wheelchairs for the dial-a-wheelchair service in Northampton.

The service provides short-term wheelchair loans to people recovering from illness or injury, enabling them to maintain their independence. Since it launched in March 2008 the service has helped over 3150 people in Northamptonshire with their existing fleet of 250 wheelchairs.

“We’re so grateful for the help from the Red Cross, we wanted to say thank you. So I approached my fellow Masons, who are always looking for ways to support local charities, to tell them how the Red Cross had helped us and they have kindly made a generous donation; which was then enhanced by our Provincial Grand Charity” Tony continued.

“Doctors are unable to find the exact cause of the reaction, but thankfully it’s unlikely that it will return now that Chloe is ten. She had only just started doing gymnastics when she fell ill and sadly had to stop while she recovered – but she’s made up for lost time and had already started winning her first medals.”

Justin Prescott, dial-a-wheelchair service co-ordinator said: “We’re delighted to hear that Chloe has made a full recovery and incredibly grateful to the family and Masonic Movement for their generous donation to the appeal, which will allow us to buy eight new wheelchairs for people in Northamptonshire.”

“We helped over 900 people last year, but we’d love to help even more people, whether it’s to be able to attend a special occasion or just pop down to the local shops.”

So far people in Northamptonshire have raised £4000 towards the £16,000 target. If you would like to like to get involved in fundraising for the appeal contact Mary Morgan at or 0116 271 6258.

If you would like to find out more about borrowing a wheelchair contact Justin Prescott on 0845 054 7171 or


For more information on the British Red Cross please visit:

Notes to editors

Photographer/reporters are invited to attend a photo opportunity on Thursday 16 January where the Pickering family will handover a cheque for £1600 to the Red Cross.

Interviews are available with Chloe and her family as well as representatives from the Red Cross.

Time: 10:30AM

Venue: Red Cross House, Hatton Close, Moulton Park, Northampton, NN3 6SU

In attendance: Chloe Pickering with her parents Tony and Katrina and brother, Luke. Volunteers and staff of the British Red Cross dial a wheelchair service.

Contact Catherine Bates for more information, photography or interviews: 0115 850 5954 /

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.

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